Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

Started Sep 25, 2013 | Discussions
SHood Veteran Member • Posts: 4,930
Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

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Big Ga Forum Pro • Posts: 18,606
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

It really does demonstrate how small the E5 viewfinder is doesn't it?

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OP SHood Veteran Member • Posts: 4,930
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

Big Ga wrote:

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

It really does demonstrate how small the E5 viewfinder is doesn't it?

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I think the viewfinder was a large contributor to Olympus deciding not to manufacture the E-7.

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Bobby J Veteran Member • Posts: 4,572
Re: Gareth the viewfinder is proof that the EM-1 is really made by

Dr. Who.  It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

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BJM

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battybob Regular Member • Posts: 164
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

Thanks for the very interesting link. Seems not so long ago we were all raving about the E5 and E3 viewfinders because they were larger than those on other E models.

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Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 6,226
Does not look right to me

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

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My E-5 is definitely not this much smaller than my 5D3.  So I don't know what FF model A is.

I looked through both E-5 and 5D3 (one to each eye) at the same time.

The E-5 Apparent field of View is only about 20%  smaller in width and 15% smaller in height

Peter

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

I don't know what "Full frame model A" means. FF view finders are of different magnifications, the D800 has 0.7x and there are larger as well. The Sony A900 has the same 0.7x as the Oly E-M1 and as far as I know it is not the largest in the FF class. Anyway, I made a quick drawing to illustrate the differences in another way.

Yes, the E-M1 VF is taller than those two FF cameras, but barely wider than the D800 and definitely not as wide as the A900. I never really think of cameras out of this perspective but now, looking at this simple drawing the E-3 looks really tiny.

On the other hand, this shows one of the advantages of electronic VF. You can magnify to almost any size and in fact I believe that even the EVF of the V1 has larger magnification than the D800. I have not really compared the two, but it would not surprise me at all. Of course, EVF magnification is one thing, but the quality and the number of pixels of that magnified EVF is another. Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image, but magnifying EVF images may cause serious issues, which is why I was not interested in earlier EVF cameras and models with worse EVF than the V1. The Oly E-M1 looks a lot better in the specs, but I don't know what that high magnification is doing to those pixels.

Edit: Please note that I made it easy for me and took 2x as the crop factor for the Oly sensor, not the actual exact crop factor.

olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Does not look right to me

Messier Object wrote:

My E-5 is definitely not this much smaller than my 5D3. So I don't know what FF model A is.

I looked through both E-5 and 5D3 (one to each eye) at the same time.

The E-5 Apparent field of View is only about 20% smaller in width and 15% smaller in height

The 5D3 is barely larger than the D800, it has 0.71x VF magnification as opposed to 0.7x so you can have a look at my drawing to compare it with the E-5. I also think there is something wrong with that image the OP posted, I don't know which camera he took as FF reference.

Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 6,226
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

olyflyer wrote:

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

I don't know what "Full frame model A" means. FF view finders are of different magnifications, the D800 has 0.7x and there are larger as well. The Sony A900 has the same 0.7x as the Oly E-M1 and as far as I know it is not the largest in the FF class. Anyway, I made a quick drawing to illustrate the differences in another way.

Yes, the E-M1 VF is taller than those two FF cameras, but barely wider than the D800 and definitely not as wide as the A900. I never really think of cameras out of this perspective but now, looking at this simple drawing the E-3 looks really tiny.

On the other hand, this shows one of the advantages of electronic VF. You can magnify to almost any size and in fact I believe that even the EVF of the V1 has larger magnification than the D800. I have not really compared the two, but it would not surprise me at all. Of course, EVF magnification is one thing, but the quality and the number of pixels of that magnified EVF is another. Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image, but magnifying EVF images may cause serious issues, which is why I was not interested in earlier EVF cameras and models with worse EVF than the V1. The Oly E-M1 looks a lot better in the specs, but I don't know what that high magnification is doing to those pixels.

Edit: Please note that I made it easy for me and took 2x as the crop factor for the Oly sensor, not the actual exact crop factor.

I've never really understood what 0.7x  means anyway - what's the baseline  how is 1x defined?

In Astronomy the Apparent Field of View of an eyepiece is always measured in degrees and relates to how wide the scene appears to be regardless of the actual optical magnification.
The widest eyepieces have extra large internal glass elements that diverge the light out wide and then bring it back to the exit element giving the impression that you are looking at an expansive scene - the latest ones have over 100 degrees.

In DSLRs a bigger FF sensor and its wider optical path makes it easier to achieve wider apparent fields at the viewfinder. To do this with a 4/3 sensor would require lots of expensive optics in addition to the prism.  I think Olympus did very well with the E-5's OVF

Peter

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

Messier Object wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

I don't know what "Full frame model A" means. FF view finders are of different magnifications, the D800 has 0.7x and there are larger as well. The Sony A900 has the same 0.7x as the Oly E-M1 and as far as I know it is not the largest in the FF class. Anyway, I made a quick drawing to illustrate the differences in another way.

Yes, the E-M1 VF is taller than those two FF cameras, but barely wider than the D800 and definitely not as wide as the A900. I never really think of cameras out of this perspective but now, looking at this simple drawing the E-3 looks really tiny.

On the other hand, this shows one of the advantages of electronic VF. You can magnify to almost any size and in fact I believe that even the EVF of the V1 has larger magnification than the D800. I have not really compared the two, but it would not surprise me at all. Of course, EVF magnification is one thing, but the quality and the number of pixels of that magnified EVF is another. Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image, but magnifying EVF images may cause serious issues, which is why I was not interested in earlier EVF cameras and models with worse EVF than the V1. The Oly E-M1 looks a lot better in the specs, but I don't know what that high magnification is doing to those pixels.

Edit: Please note that I made it easy for me and took 2x as the crop factor for the Oly sensor, not the actual exact crop factor.

I've never really understood what 0.7x means anyway - what's the baseline how is 1x defined?

View finder size = View finder magnification x (1 / crop factor)

In other words, if you have a view finder which ideally has a 1x magnification and has a crop factor of 1x then you have an image with the size of "1" (unit-less). Size changes as you enter different values.

In my reference I made first a drawing with a box size 36000 x 24000 units. Why? Because I had that set up in my cad software when I did this, but you can use any reference as long as you use the same all the way and as long as you can reduce accurately enough to the right proportions AND as long as the reference proportions are 3:2 because of the reference 35mm camera sensor proportions.

For the Oly image I took a box corresponding to 34600 x 26000 units to keep the same proportions, assuming 2x crop and calculated the VF magnification compared to the FF. So it was really easy to compare the two.

In Astronomy the Apparent Field of View of an eyepiece is always measured in degrees and relates to how wide the scene appears to be regardless of the actual optical magnification.
The widest eyepieces have extra large internal glass elements that diverge the light out wide and then bring it back to the exit element giving the impression that you are looking at an expansive scene - the latest ones have over 100 degrees.

In DSLRs a bigger FF sensor and its wider optical path makes it easier to achieve wider apparent fields at the viewfinder. To do this with a 4/3 sensor would require lots of expensive optics in addition to the prism. I think Olympus did very well with the E-5's OVF

Yes, I agree Oly did a good job with the VF magnification, assuming that there is no distortion caused by the VF magnification. I have not seen the E-5 ever in real life, so I can not tell. Looking at this drawing and knowing (remembering) the E-3 VF yes, I definitely agree the E-5 is much better, but having the D800 as reference I would not like that VF today. Since I am also getting older I appreciate the larger VF more and more, which is why I think the the E-M1 is a nice step forward if it is equal or better than the Nikon V1, which is my reference of good EVF. Probably the Oly is much better, but it is difficult to tell by just looking at the specs.

rovingtim Veteran Member • Posts: 8,640
what are you guys smoking?

olyflyer wrote:

I have not seen the E-5 ever in real life, so I can not tell. Looking at this drawing and knowing (remembering) the E-3 VF yes, I definitely agree the E-5 is much better,

The E3 and E5 have the exact same viewfinder.

olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
My bad...

rovingtim wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

I have not seen the E-5 ever in real life, so I can not tell. Looking at this drawing and knowing (remembering) the E-3 VF yes, I definitely agree the E-5 is much better,

The E3 and E5 have the exact same viewfinder.

Sorry, you are right. The one I marked E-3 is the E-30. The E-3 and the E-5 has identical VF, you are right.

This is the updated image.

Messier Object Veteran Member • Posts: 6,226
your good actually . . .

olyflyer wrote:

rovingtim wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

I have not seen the E-5 ever in real life, so I can not tell. Looking at this drawing and knowing (remembering) the E-3 VF yes, I definitely agree the E-5 is much better,

The E3 and E5 have the exact same viewfinder.

Sorry, you are right. The one I marked E-3 is the E-30. The E-3 and the E-5 has identical VF, you are right.

This is the updated image.

now this makes more sense when looking at the original (horses pics) comparison diagram.
I just compared my E-30 to the 5D3 and the match with the  horses is about right.
maybe someone mixed the E-30 and E-5 ?

Peter

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Olymore
Olymore Senior Member • Posts: 1,707
Re: Does not look right to me

The E-M1 has 0.74 magnification and ia supposed to be bigger than the viewfinder in a Nikon D4 and marginally smaller than the one in the Canon 1DX

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dave gaines
dave gaines Veteran Member • Posts: 9,183
A very good graphic, thanks

olyflyer wrote: ...

This is the updated image.

This is a great illustration of the differences. It's hard to relate magnification across different sensor formats. Thanks for creating this.

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Dave

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kuaimen Regular Member • Posts: 306
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

olyflyer wrote:

SHood wrote:

This is the first visual comparison I have found showing the size difference between these viewfinders.

I don't know what "Full frame model A" means. FF view finders are of different magnifications, the D800 has 0.7x and there are larger as well. The Sony A900 has the same 0.7x as the Oly E-M1 and as far as I know it is not the largest in the FF class. Anyway, I made a quick drawing to illustrate the differences in another way.

Yes, the E-M1 VF is taller than those two FF cameras, but barely wider than the D800 and definitely not as wide as the A900. I never really think of cameras out of this perspective but now, looking at this simple drawing the E-3 looks really tiny.

On the other hand, this shows one of the advantages of electronic VF. You can magnify to almost any size and in fact I believe that even the EVF of the V1 has larger magnification than the D800. I have not really compared the two, but it would not surprise me at all. Of course, EVF magnification is one thing, but the quality and the number of pixels of that magnified EVF is another. Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image, but magnifying EVF images may cause serious issues, which is why I was not interested in earlier EVF cameras and models with worse EVF than the V1. The Oly E-M1 looks a lot better in the specs, but I don't know what that high magnification is doing to those pixels.

Edit: Please note that I made it easy for me and took 2x as the crop factor for the Oly sensor, not the actual exact crop factor.

"Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image,"

Doesn't that make the image appear darker as the same amount of light is spread out onto a bigger area? Optical VF magnification is not "active" magnification, means there is no additional energy pumped into the magnified image to maintain / increase brightness. EVF magnification is active magnification, with extra energy used to keep / boost image brightness.

citizenlouie Contributing Member • Posts: 796
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

kuaimen wrote:

"Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image,"

Doesn't that make the image appear darker as the same amount of light is spread out onto a bigger area? Optical VF magnification is not "active" magnification, means there is no additional energy pumped into the magnified image to maintain / increase brightness. EVF magnification is active magnification, with extra energy used to keep / boost image brightness.

The brightness of the OVF depends on the design of pentaprism/pentamirror and traveling paths, as well as how big the aperture of the lens is.  Pentaprism loses less light than pentamirror.  Every time a light passes through a mirror (even if your camera has pentaprism, there is one mirror, the one that flips up) it loses light....  So trust me, nobody likes mirror, including me.

But OVF brightness also depends on the largest aperture of the lens you hook to your camera.  If your lens' aperture is bigger, you let more light in, just that simple.  That's why back in film camera time, lots of lenses have f/2 or larger aperture, but you can't use those lenses wide open.... Those aperture only existed because it'll make OVF brighter for easy manual focus.

In digital time, such practice is just outdated, so Olympus just designed lenses that can be used wide open, unlike other brands who are still calling their f/2.8 lens a f/1.4 lens....  (many Canikon lenses really can't be used wide open..., because optical quality really sucks at first two stops).

Just pick up a film camera, hook a f/1.4 lens and then compare it with a f/2.8 lens and see how much difference it makes when you look through the OVF.

BUT (now that's a big but...), the reason why E-M1 is not a no-brainer purchase for me is because it doesn't have a OVF (m4/3's AF is really fast, so I don't have any problem with AF with 4/3 lenses also).  I still put it on pre-order, and need to see it to believe the new EVF.  I've used EV-3 on m4/3, an OVF from E-620, and the OVF from E-5.  EV-3 is the largest of them all, because it's an EVF.  I only feel E-5's OVF is marginally larger than E-620's (it's noticeably larger, but I didn't feel E-620's OVF is that terrible).  Despite the size difference, I didn't feel EV-3 is an improvement, because it renders colors wrong all the time, and messes up with my exposure judgment.  I would rather use E-620's small OVF than the very big EV-3.  I have shot so many junk photos due to EVF's lack of consistency.  I have to use histogram overlay all the time, because the lighting you see in EVF is not the real exposure you'll get in the final output, especially when there is a strong direct sun light (which is all the time here in California).

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

kuaimen wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

On the other hand, this shows one of the advantages of electronic VF. You can magnify to almost any size and in fact I believe that even the EVF of the V1 has larger magnification than the D800. I have not really compared the two, but it would not surprise me at all. Of course, EVF magnification is one thing, but the quality and the number of pixels of that magnified EVF is another. Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image, but magnifying EVF images may cause serious issues, which is why I was not interested in earlier EVF cameras and models with worse EVF than the V1. The Oly E-M1 looks a lot better in the specs, but I don't know what that high magnification is doing to those pixels.

Edit: Please note that I made it easy for me and took 2x as the crop factor for the Oly sensor, not the actual exact crop factor.

"Magnifying an optical VF image doesn't really degrade the VF image,"

Doesn't that make the image appear darker as the same amount of light is spread out onto a bigger area? Optical VF magnification is not "active" magnification, means there is no additional energy pumped into the magnified image to maintain / increase brightness. EVF magnification is active magnification, with extra energy used to keep / boost image brightness.

Well, yes to a degree you are right, any addition of an optical element degrades the image, but generally speaking optical magnification improves our ability to see detail, so you can actually say that optical magnification improves the optical viewfinder image, not degrades. An electronic viewfinder is like a TV or computer screen, magnifying that screen is not the same as magnifying an analogue image, like in the optical viewfinders.

Additionally, creating large screens or electronic viewfinders is only an advantage if the number of pixels are high enough so that you can almost not see them, AND those pixels are of high enough quality so that you can not differentiate between RGB and will not see any flickering or other disturbing factors, like slow pixel update, image lag, true WB vs. image sensor WB and all the other disadvantages an EVF can have. The Oly EVF looks good on specs but how it is in real life still remains to be seen.

I don't know what you mean by "active magnification" and pumping additional energy. I was not talking about brightness, only magnification. I know only two ways of increased view finder magnification, one is through using a magnifier glass the other is through using a larger screen. I have no idea about the actual size of the E-M1 EVF screen but my guess is that it is quite small and that there is actually an optical magnification involved as well. Never the less, it is still the same, the quality of it depends mostly on the pixels and the processing of that image.

Of course, the EVF offer possibilities an OVF does not have, for example to zoom in and electronically magnify PART of the EVF image, or to increase the EVF image intensity, but that's a totally different subject.

olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Viewfinder size comparison: E-5 vs E-M1 vs FF

citizenlouie wrote:

But OVF brightness also depends on the largest aperture of the lens you hook to your camera. If your lens' aperture is bigger, you let more light in, just that simple. That's why back in film camera time, lots of lenses have f/2 or larger aperture, but you can't use those lenses wide open.... Those aperture only existed because it'll make OVF brighter for easy manual focus.

Actually, you are wrong. To start with, almost only the most common focal length, around the 50mm range were equal to or faster than f/2. Almost every other lens were slower. Also those which were considerably faster than f/2, the f/1.4 and f/1.2 were very expensive lenses BECAUSE they were often very good optically. But, slower lenses have always been cheaper to make and smaller in size, so just like today, they were more popular. During the 1970s I wished I could afford f/1.2 lenses, but I had to manage with the f/1.8 I could afford, my fastest film lens was a f/1.7 Rokkor 55mm, and was never shy using those with large apertures and don't remember that I ever stopped down more than to f/5.6.

In digital time, such practice is just outdated, so Olympus just designed lenses that can be used wide open, unlike other brands who are still calling their f/2.8 lens a f/1.4 lens.... (many Canikon lenses really can't be used wide open..., because optical quality really sucks at first two stops).

What a hogwash. I thought that this type of cliche was dead and gone from this forum. When was it last time you have used a fast lens?

Just pick up a film camera, hook a f/1.4 lens and then compare it with a f/2.8 lens and see how much difference it makes when you look through the OVF.

Yes, of course the VF gets brighter, but it helps if you use a more modern lens, not one from an old film camera, especially if you have so strong opinions about fast lenses.

BUT (now that's a big but...), the reason why E-M1 is not a no-brainer purchase for me is because it doesn't have a OVF (m4/3's AF is really fast, so I don't have any problem with AF with 4/3 lenses also). I still put it on pre-order, and need to see it to believe the new EVF. I've used EV-3 on m4/3, an OVF from E-620, and the OVF from E-5. EV-3 is the largest of them all, because it's an EVF. I only feel E-5's OVF is marginally larger than E-620's (it's noticeably larger, but I didn't feel E-620's OVF is that terrible). Despite the size difference, I didn't feel EV-3 is an improvement, because it renders colors wrong all the time, and messes up with my exposure judgment. I would rather use E-620's small OVF than the very big EV-3. I have shot so many junk photos due to EVF's lack of consistency. I have to use histogram overlay all the time, because the lighting you see in EVF is not the real exposure you'll get in the final output, especially when there is a strong direct sun light (which is all the time here in California).

Well, if you feel that E-5's OVF is only marginally larger than E-620's OVF then I understand fully why you don't see any advantage of faster lenses and why you regard those Canikon lenses (which you probably never seen in real life) to be cr@p compared to your slow Oly lenses. 

olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 24,193
Re: Does not look right to me

Olymore wrote:

The E-M1 has 0.74 magnification and ia supposed to be bigger than the viewfinder in a Nikon D4 and marginally smaller than the one in the Canon 1DX

The E-M1 EVF image is as wide as the D4 OVF but taller. This is good because of the sensor is a 4:2 sensor, not a 3:2. The Sony A900 has also 0.74x mag, same as the E-M1, and as a result the VF image is wider than the Oly, but still not as tall. The 1Dx has 0.76x which would be even larger and taller than the A900 but perhaps still not as tall as the E-M1.

There is however a disadvantage in too large VF as well, at least for some people. If the VF image is too large it is difficult to see the whole image, so composition is not as easy as with an "optimal" OVF size. For my own needs the D800 is optimal, perhaps even a bit too large. Just the other day I compared it with a film camera I have at home, just for fun, but I did not like the huge VF of the film camera. I remember the OM1 and OM2 to have even larger OVFs and I also remember that I had issues with using those cameras mainly because of the size of the OVF. In other words, I would NOT like to have a too large VF, regardless if it is EVF or OVF, and especially the height of the VF image would trouble me a lot. Here, I think the 4:3 format is a disadvantage because it is naturally higher than 3:2 if it is made as wide as the 3:2. This might not be bothering to everyone but it is definitely something I'd look at before buying the E-M1. While the EVF size is impressive, it might not work as well as a smaller one due to the height of the image.

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